awareness to the need of increased funding and programs for those brave men and women who had served their country valiantly. One of the programs Paul had told his family about was placing therapy or service dogs with veterans suffering from PTSD. Tim had some questions for his brother on that very subject. ***** He’d done his research, pumped Paul for as much information as possible and had enlisted the help of Rob’s doctor, Dr. Jenna Francis. She was a therapist who specialized in diagnosing and treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder within the FDNY. Rob had been willing to be their ‘test case’ and Tim hoped that soon there’d be dozens more with the help of the humane society. That’s where Matt and his millions of dollars came in. Because Matt and his company, MEL Holdings, was one of the humane society’s biggest donors, when Matt asked for something, he usually got it. Tim was going to use every advantage he could muster to get his idea moving forward. With Tim’s idea, Jenna’s credentials, Paul’s program data and Matt’s money, they were able to begin their own program placing shelter dogs with firefighters diagnosed with PTSD. Along with therapy and medication, when necessary, after six weeks improvement was being seen, and felt. Rob was back at work, Izzy at his side. Engine 23 had adopted her as their official mascot. The shelter had been able to hire another fulltime animal behavior specialist to identify which dogs would be appropriate for the program and with the help of Jenna they matched up each firefighter with their new best friend. Even the fire department bigwigs were starting to take notice. With a workforce that had as high as thirty-seven percent officially diagnosed with PTSD, and probably many more that went undiagnosed, this program could potentially save the department money, which was always a top priority, and create a healthier group of employees; physically, psychologically and emotionally. Tim had received a commendation and if this program continued to go well, Captain was well within his grasp. For weeks, every spare minute not on the job was devoted to his new cause. He rarely went out for drinks after work and hadn’t been on a date since he’d taken Beth and Emma to dinner before Thanksgiving, not that he considered it a date. Jenna didn’t even tempt him. She was young and extremely attractive but their relationship was strictly professional and even if he had been interested, he would never have acted on it. There was too much at stake. He would never risk the program that he was totally invested in. Plus, he still thought about Beth all the time, even though he’d stopped calling her after Christmas. She’d never answered and she’d never returned any of his messages. For several weeks he’d gone over in his head what he could have possibly done to offend or hurt her. The only thing he could come up with was his run in with Amanda, but he’d explained all that and he thought everything was fine between them. The only other reason that he could think of was that Emma didn’t like him and she’d convinced Beth that he wasn’t right for her. He was beginning to think that that was probably the more likely of the two. At the end of March Tim had been approached by the FDNY and was asked to present an award to the humane society at their annual benefit the last weekend of April. The fire department was honoring the organization for their generous donations of animals to serve as therapy dogs for their employees in the PTSD program. Tim was honored to do so and willingly accepted the assignment.
11. Tim stood at the front of the ballroom talking to his brothers. His whole family had arrived to support him as he gave the award to the humane society. Matt and Janie were the last to arrive. “Paparazzi are everywhere,” Matt sighed as he kissed his mother and hugged his father. “They only want pictures of you,” Paul replied. “They